Juicy, tender pan-seared scallops are served on a bed of baby spinach and finished with a warm bacon-sherry vinaigrette.
Prepare your mise en place by washing and drying the baby spinach. Remove the stems. Finely dice the shallots and set aside. Slice the bacon into match stick sized pieces.
To make the vinaigrette, heat a fry pan over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Once half of the fat has rendered, add the shallots and let caramelize slightly. Turn the heat up to medium-high and deglaze the pan with the sherry. Let reduce slightly. Add the sherry vinegar and apple juice and reduce by about half. If you did not use a sweeter cream sherry, you may want to add a touch of sugar.
Once the mixture has reduced, remove from the heat and set aside. Keep in mind it will continue to thicken as it cools.
To cook the scallops, pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Remove the tough muscle along the side of the scallops, if present.
Heat a fry pan to medium-high heat and add the clarified butter. While the butter is heating, season the scallops with salt and white pepper.
Once the butter is hot and just begins to smoke, place the scallops into the pan and turn the heat up to high. The scallops are ready to flip when they start to cook up the sides and turn opaque. Once ready, the bottom should be a nice golden brown. Turn the heat down to medium and flip them over. The scallops are cooked when you can see that about 1/4 of an inch on the top and bottom has turned opaque.
Next, butter baste the scallops. Add the non-clarified butter to the pan. Once it melts, spoon a generous amount over each scallop. Immediately turn off the heat and remove the scallops from the pan. Set aside while you quickly reheat the vinaigrette.
Bring the vinaigrette to a gentle boil then set aside to cool for a minute or two.
Next, add some of the dressing to the spinach and toss. Reserve some of the vinaigrette, so you can drizzle a bit over the scallops once they are plated.
Next, stack 3 or 4 spinach leaves with a few pieces of bacon and place each stack onto a plate. Then top each stack of spinach with one of the scallops. Drizzle the scallops with some of the remaining vinaigrette and garnish each scallop with a few pieces of bacon. Top with a pinch of Fleur de Sel and serve.
This appetizer is a perfect beginning to an elegant meal.
Make sure you have everything ready before you start cooking the scallops, so you don’t overcook them.